What kit should I take to Africa?

Started Apr 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
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NZ Scott
NZ Scott Veteran Member • Posts: 4,695
What kit should I take to Africa?

Hey kids,

I'm planning a 3-month trip to Africa at the end of this year. Specifically, I will do an 8-week overland truck journey through Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa and then probably fly to Morocco and hang out there for a month or so.

My normal travel policy is to go ultralight with no more than 6kg / 13lb of stuff in a 35 litre cycling pack (I once backpacked overland from Seoul to Paris with no more than this), but seeing as the truck has plenty of storage space I'm tempted to break my own rule and take more stuff than I normally would.

I would appreciate some thoughts on the following questions, especially from people who have travelled through Africa.

1) The biggest problem is that of photographing wildlife. Should I take a tripod? I normally wouldn't, but I'm wondering whether I'll need it for photographing wildlife with the rather slow Olympus 75-300 II, which I intend to buy shortly. Is it okay shooting hand-held with this lens, given its maximum aperture of f6.7 at the long end?

2) Can anybody recommend anything better than the Oly 75-300 II for photographing animals on safari?

3) For my other lenses I'm leaning towards taking my "holy trinity" of primes - the Oly 12/2.0, Oly 17/1.8 and Oly 45/1.8. This will mean leaving several good lenses at home - the 14-42IIR, 40-150ED, 60/2.8 Macro and Rokinon 7.5 fisheye. Can anybody make a good argument for or against my choice?

4) Will airport security in Kuala Lumpur, Cairo and Cape Town let me take a tripod onto a plane as hand luggage (this is important, as I will have to pay $50 for each of 3 flights if I travel with more than hand luggage)?

My camera body is an E-P3. I intend to fit it with an MCG2 grip to help with stability when shooting long.

That's about it. I appreciate you taking the time to read this rather long post, and I also look forward to reading your replies.


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